32 Celebrity Mental Health Advocates Dish On Their Own Experiences

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Whenever there’s a picture of a celebrity doing “normal” human activities, like shopping at Trader Joe’s or something equally mundane, the caption usually reads something akin to: “Celebrities: They’re just like us!”

Trying to make a celeb relatable by going on an errand is a stretch, at least for me. After I hit the grocery store, I don’t get into a Bentley and drive back to my gazillion dollar mansion with a full housekeeping staff. 

Do you know what really makes celebs just like us? Celebrity status doesn’t make you immune to mental health issues. They suffer just as we do, and that does make them extremely relatable. 

In recent years, a slew of famous actors and singers have opened up about their mental illnesses and we applaud them for getting candid about it. Not only is it great for bringing awareness to mental health, but it makes us realize that even if you appear to have it all, you may be struggling. 

They’re real human beings who suffer from the same ailments as millions of “normal” people — all the money and fame in the world doesn’t cure depression. 

Here are some celebs who have been open about their various mental health issues and what they’ve said about their struggles. 

Adele – Postpartum Depression

 
 
 
 
 
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“I can slip in and out of [depression] quite easily,” Adele told Vanity Fair. “I had really bad postpartum depression after I had my son, and it frightened me,” she said. “I didn’t talk to anyone about it. I was very reluctant…. Four of my friends felt the same way I did, and everyone was too embarrassed to talk about it.”


Chrissy Teigen – Postpartum Depression

 
 
 
 
 
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“I also just didn’t think it could happen to me. I have a great life. I have all the help I could need: John, my mother (who lives with us), a nanny. But postpartum does not discriminate,” she wrote in an essay for Glamour. “I couldn’t control it. And that’s part of the reason it took me so long to speak up: I felt selfish, icky, and weird saying aloud that I’m struggling. Sometimes I still do.”


Reese Witherspoon – Postpartum Depression

 
 
 
 
 
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“After each child I had a different experience,” the Oscar winner told GMA. “One kid, I had kind of mild postpartum. One kid, I had severe postpartum, where I had to take pretty heavy medication because I just wasn’t thinking straight at all, and then, I had one kid where I had no postpartum at all.”

“I didn’t have the right kind of guidance or help, I just white-knuckled back,” Witherspoon recalled, calling for the destigmatization of mental health discussions and urging everyone to believe women when they talk about what they’re going through.


Emma Stone – Anxiety/Panic Attacks

 
 
 
 
 
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“The first time I had a panic attack I was sitting in my friend’s house, and I thought the house was burning down. I called my mom and she brought me home, and for the next three years, it just would not stop,” Emma Stone told the Wall Street Journal.

“I would ask my mom to tell me exactly how the day was going to be, then ask again 30 seconds later. I just needed to know that no one was going to die and nothing was going to change.”


Demi Lovato – Bipolar Disorder

 
 
 
 
 
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“I think it’s important that people no longer look at mental illness as something taboo to talk about,” she said at the National Council for Behavioral Health in Washington, DC. “It’s something that’s extremely common, one in five adults has a mental illness, so basically everyone is essentially connected to this problem and this epidemic. The problem with mental illness is people don’t look at it as a physical illness. When you think about it, the brain is actually the most complex organ in your body. We need to treat it like a physical illness and take it seriously.”


Catherine Zeta-Jones – Bipolar II Disorder

 
 
 
 
 
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“I never wanted to be as open about it as I was. I have a British stiff-upper-lip mentality; it wasn’t something I wanted to shout from the rooftops,” she said. “But when it did come to light, I know I’m not the only person who suffers with it or has to deal with it on a day-to-day basis. So, if I’ve helped anybody by discussing bipolar or depression, that’s great.”


Leonardo DiCaprio – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

 
 
 
 
 
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The Oscar-winning star admitted he feels compelled to walk through doorways numerous times and step on sidewalk stains left by used chewing gum. But DiCaprio has managed to keep his OCD tendencies under control, saying, “I’m able to say at some point, ‘OK, you’re being ridiculous. Stop stepping on every gum stain you see. You don’t need to do that.’”


Daniel Radcliffe – OCD

 
 
 
 
 
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In an interview with The Sun, Radcliffe opened up about his experience with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a type of anxiety disorder, saying he developed the mental health condition when he was five. It got to the point where he had to repeat everything he said back to himself, the compulsion was so great. Of course, he felt he had to do so under his breath, thus keeping his compulsive repetitions secret. 

He also said it took him five minutes to shut off a light. After a referral to a therapist, Radcliffe was finally able to get the help he needed to cope with his compulsions, saying his condition is under control – although he misses his sessions if he hasn’t been in a while. He encourages anyone with OCD to undergo therapy.


Lady Gaga – PTSD

 
 
 
 
 
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“When my career took off, I don’t remember anything at all. It’s like I’m traumatized. I needed time to recalibrate my soul,” she explained in an interview. “I definitely look after my well-being…I openly admit to having battled depression and anxiety and I think a lot of people do. I think it’s better when we all say: ‘Cheers!’ and ‘fess up to it.”


Winona Ryder – Depression

 
 
 
 
 
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“You can’t pay enough money to cure that feeling of being broken and confused. It’s not like every day’s been great ever since,” she explained. “You have good days and bad days, and depression’s something that, y’know, is always with you.”


Selena Gomez – Depression/Anxiety/Panic Attacks

 
 
 
 
 
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“I’ve discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges,” she told People. “I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off […] I know I am not alone by sharing this, I hope others will be encouraged to address their own issues.”


Halle Berry – Depression 

 
 
 
 
 
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“I was sitting in my car, and I knew the gas was coming when I had an image of my mother finding me,” told Parade magazine about contemplating suicide after her divorce. “She sacrificed so much for her children, and to end my life would be an incredibly selfish thing to do. It was all about a relationship. My sense of worth was so low.”


Glenn Close – Depression

 
 
 
 
 
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“I felt this inertia that would come over me,” she told Mashable.“You think of something and it just seems too much, too hard. That’s how it manifested in me.”


Gwyneth Paltrow – Postpartum Depression

 
 
 
 
 
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“I felt like a zombie. I couldn’t access my heart. I couldn’t access my emotions. I couldn’t connect,” she told Good Housekeeping. “I thought postpartum depression meant you were sobbing every single day and incapable of looking after a child,” she explains. “But there are different shades of it and depths of it, which is why I think it’s so important for women to talk about it. It was a trying time. I felt like a failure.”


Kerry Washington – Depression

 
 
 
 
 
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“I say that publicly because I think it’s really important to take the stigma away from mental health,” she told Glamour. “My brain and my heart are really important to me. I don’t know why I wouldn’t seek help to have those things be as healthy as my teeth. I go to the dentist. So why wouldn’t I go to a shrink?”


Taraji P. Henson – Depression/Anxiety

 
 
 
 
 
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The actress told Variety that she copes with anxiety and depression by regularly talking to a therapist.

“That’s the only way I can get through it,” she said. “You can talk to your friends, but you need a professional who can give you exercises.”


Sarah Silverman – Depression

 
 
 
 
 
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“People use ‘panic attack’ very casually out here in Los Angeles,” she told Glamour. “But I don’t think most of them really know what it is. Every breath is labored. You are dying. You are going to die. It’s terrifying. And then, when the attack is over, the depression is still there…I wouldn’t wish depression on anyone. But if you ever experience it, or are experiencing it right now, just know that on the other side, the little joys in life will be that much sweeter. The tough times, the days when you’re just a ball on the floor – they’ll pass. You’re playing the long game and life is totally worth it.”


Camila Mendes – Anxiety

 
 
 
 
 
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“I’m super stoked about it,” she told Byrdie of starting therapy. “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and considering how much my life has changed this year, I thought it was about time I check in with myself. It’s been really difficult adjusting to the pace of this industry, everything moves so quickly and people are constantly coming at you with endless demands. I’ve had to make room in my life for so many new people and work obligations that now I barely have time for myself, not to mention my family and friends. So to have that slotted time once a week to focus on myself is so essential to my well-being.”


Kristen Bell – Depression/Anxiety

 
 
 
 
 
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“There’s nothing weak about struggling with mental illness,” she wrote in an essay for Motto. “For me, depression is not sadness. It’s not having a bad day and needing a hug. It gave me a complete and utter sense of isolation and loneliness. Its debilitation was all-consuming, and it shut down my mental circuit board. I felt worthless, like I had nothing to offer, like I was a failure. Now, after seeking help, I can see that those thoughts, of course, couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s important for me to be candid about this so people in a similar situation can realize that they are not worthless and that they do have something to offer. We all do.”


Chris Evans – Anxiety

 
 
 
 
 
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In an interview with Rolling Stone, the actor revealed how his anxiety often kicks in during premieres, equating red carpet events to “30 minutes of walking on hot coals.” Evans, who has tried everything from meditating to reading Buddhist texts to calm his mind, said he’s “gotten better” but still has moments of self-doubt when he over-analyzes things.


Angelina Jolie – Depression

 
 
 
 
 
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Angelina has been open about her bouts of depression. She began to have sessions when she was a teenager. She talks about how, during those times, she would cut herself. After her mother died from cancer in 2007, Angelina became depressed again. Instead of hurting herself to relieve the pain, she threw herself into something new. She accepted a role in a movie. Angelina Jolie says, “I felt I was going into a very dark place, and I wasn’t capable of getting up in the morning, so I signed up for something that would force me to be active.”


Ryan Reynolds – Anxiety

 
 
 
 
 
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“I never, ever slept. Or I was sleeping at a perfect right angle — just sitting straight, constantly working at the same time,” he told Variety, describing the anxiety he experienced while filming Deadpool. “By the time we were in post [production], we’d been to Comic-Con, and people went crazy for it. The expectations were eating me alive.”


Dakota Johnson – Anxiety 

 
 
 
 
 
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“Sometimes I panic to the point where I don’t know what I’m thinking or doing. I have a full anxiety attack….I have them all the time anyway, but with auditioning, it’s bad. I’m so terrified of it,” she said of her anxiety.


Lili Reinhart – Anxiety

 
 
 
 
 
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“I had so much anxiety booking work, and I spent almost five months holed up in this bedroom in this house just feeling anxious, waiting for my next audition, and not doing anything else. It was the most miserable time of my life,” she told W Magazine. “I had to quit a few jobs in North Carolina because of how anxious they made me. My anxiety was so bad that I had to keep quitting jobs because I physically could not work…I threw up in my Uber because, one, I was carsick, and two, I was having a panic attack. I get home, lock the door in my room, immediately Skype my mom and said, ‘Mom, I’m not okay.’ I felt like my world was crashing. I didn’t want to admit defeat, but I was like, ‘I need to come home. My mental health is suffering, and it is making me physically ill.'”


Amanda Seyfried – OCD/Anxiety 

 
 
 
 
 
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“I’m on Lexapro, and I’ll never get off of it,” she told Allure. “I’ve been on it since I was 19, so, 11 years. I’m on the lowest dose. I don’t see the point of getting off of it. Whether it’s placebo or not, I don’t want to risk it. And what are you fighting against? Just the stigma of using a tool? A mental illness is a thing that people cast in a different category [from other illnesses], but I don’t think it is. It should be taken as seriously as anything else. You don’t see the mental illness: It’s not a mass; it’s not a cyst. But it’s there. Why do you need to prove it? If you can treat it, you treat it.”


Dwayne Johnson – Depression 

 
 
 
 
 
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“I found that, with depression, one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone,” he said in a YouTube video. “You’re not the first to go through it; you’re not going to be the last to go through it. And oftentimes – it happens – you just feel like you’re alone. You feel like it’s only you. You’re in your bubble. And I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and [say], ‘Hey, it’s gonna be OK. It’ll be OK.’ So, I wish I knew that.”


Cara Delevingne – Depression

 
 
 
 
 
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“I was so ashamed of how I felt because I had such a privileged upbringing,” she said on This Morning. “I’m very lucky. But I had depression. I had moments where I didn’t want to carry on living. But then the guilt of feeling that way and not being able to tell anyone because I shouldn’t feel that way just left me feeling blame and guilt.”


Zendaya – Anxiety 

 
 
 
 
 
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“I used to struggle with anxiety pretty bad,” she wrote in a post on her app. “It only happened when I sang live, not when I danced or did any other live performances, and it stemmed from a bad experience I had while singing on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ in 2013. It wasn’t my best performance and I’ve never let myself live that down. I had mad anxiety ever since that.”


Kendrick Lamar – Depression 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Grammy Award-winning artist revealed his struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts in his album, “To Pimp a Butterfly.” On the emotional track “u,” for example, Kendrick raps about the survivor’s guilt he feels for leaving his hometown of Compton, California, where many of his friends and family still remain.


Mariah Carey – Bipolar Disorder 

 
 
 
 
 
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Mariah Carey says she was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2001. She went public with her diagnosis in April 2018 in an interview with People magazine, saying she now feels she’s in a good place managing her mental health.

“Until recently, I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she said. “It was too heavy a burden to carry, and I simply couldn’t do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me, and I got back to doing what I love — writing songs and making music.”


Rene Russo – Bipolar Disorder 

 
 
 
 
 
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“I literally crashed, hit a wall and couldn’t get out of bed,” Russo said, after noting that she’d been “stop and go” all her life. “And I thought it was depression, but if you [have bipolar disorder and] take antidepressants, it speeds you up more.”

Addressing “all the people that are having trouble and maybe feel bad about taking medication,” she said, “It’s OK. You will make it through. It’s not easy, but you will make it through.”


Pete Davidson – Bipolar Disorder 

 
 
 
 
 
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“I got diagnosed with BPD a few years ago, and I was always just so confused all the time, and just thought something was wrong, and didn’t know how to deal with it,” Davidson told Self. “Then, when somebody finally tells you, the weight of the world feels lifted off your shoulders. You feel so much better.”

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We think celebrity mental health advocates aid in de-stigmatizing mental illness. Tell us if you agree in the comments!


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